Wang Jianlin Overtakes Li Ka-Shing As Wealthiest Chinese

Acquisitive Dalian Wanda Property tycoon Wang Jianlin overtook Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing becoming the wealthiest Chinese, with a personal fortune of about US$42.6 billion, a new ranking said on Wednesday.

According to the latest data from Hurun Research Institute, billionaires from the Chinese mainland accounted for about 79.5 per cent of the Hurun Global Chinese Rich List 2015, followed by 6.3 per cent from Hong Kong and 4.9 per cent form Taiwan.

Spread across more than 18 countries and regions, Hurun's research said there were 1,577 individuals with personal wealth in excess of 2 billion yuan ($312.6 million), and of this 302 were from outside the Chinese mainland.

Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report, said: "A decade ago, the most successful Chinese were those outside the Chinese mainland. Today that has changed completely, with entrepreneurs like Wang Jianlin of Wanda charting a new path."

Ben Cavender, principal at China Market Research Group, said, "Chinese entrepreneurs have become more successful over the years and many of their businesses have got high valuations after they expanded abroad. "The new wave of Chinese billionaires are very clever and business savvy. They will change their management ideas and growth strategies quickly," he said.

Total wealth of these individuals comes to a staggering $2.1 trillion, which is equivalent to the GDP of Russia, or 1.5 times that of South Korea.

Although Wang Jianlin has been spending his wealth this year on investments such as a chunk of the Atletico de Madrid Spanish football club, the recent listings of Wanda's real estate and cinema businesses have helped drive Wang's wealth.

Hong Kong real estate mogul Li Ka-shing, 87, came in second with personal fortune of $32.8 billion. Li has also been calibrating his business empire in the last year.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Jack Ma, 51, was third-richest with a wealth of $27 billion.

The Chinese mainland had 1,254 billionaires with total wealth of $1.4 trillion. Beijing has the highest concentration of billionaires - 181, followed by Shenzhen with 111.

All the billionaires on the Chinese mainland are self-made while the ratio is only 67 per cent in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.

About half the non-mainland Chinese on the list have their origins in Guangdong and Fujian provinces. Billionaires with origins on the Chinese mainland are dominated by those who hail from Zhejiang province.

Cavender said challenges still remain for Chinese billionaires to do business overseas and it is important for them to change their cultural mindset and hire top international talent in the markets they are planning to enter.


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